It has now been a week since the charter of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) expired, leaving a void of export support for many American businesses -- most of which, John Arensmeyer reminds us, are small businesses.
“This is devastating to small exporters and entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses to international markets,” Arensmeyer, president of the advocacy group Small Business Majority, wrote in a recent letter to the editor published by The Washington Post. He pointed out that nearly 90 percent of Ex-Im’s transactions in 2014 helped U.S. small businesses.
In the story to which Arensmeyer was responding, The Post referenced statistics showing that Ex-Im loans support $27.5 billion in exports and 164,000 American jobs (other estimates put those totals even higher). Without it, our country stands to lose a large share of that business to foreign competitors, and by extension, we stand to lose any number of those hundreds of thousands of jobs, too.
“The Export-Import Bank provides an important resource to small businesses by filling in the gaps in traditional financing and partnering with private-sector lenders to provide loans and credit that help foreign purchasers buy U.S.-made goods,” Arensmeyer later explained. “The bank also offers credit insurance to cover nonpayment from foreign buyers.”
“Many small businesses rely on the bank,” he added.
President Obama echoed the same sentiment in a column published recently by the Boston Globe.
“It helps small businesses go global,” Obama wrote of the Ex-Im Bank. “It helps American entrepreneurs take that next step." But with the bank’s expiration, “businesses that need additional help shipping their Made-in-America products around the globe will lose that help,” the president added. “And that means lost sales, lost customers, and lost opportunities.”
With Congress back from holiday, there’s momentum building to renew the bank’s charter later this month. Rest assured, Arensmeyer and those nearly 300,000 small firms who depend on the bank to help them export will be hoping their representatives in Washington follow through.
“Ninety-eight percent of the United States’ almost 300,000 exporters are small and medium-size businesses,” Arensmeyer added. “Lawmakers should reauthorize the Export-Import Bank’s charter now to ensure that our nation’s small exporters have the tools they need to thrive.”